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What is etanercept?

Etanercept is a type of anti-TNF (anti-tumour necrosis factor). It reduces inflammation. Read more >

How do I take etanercept and how long does it take to work?

Etanercept is usually given as a subcutaneous injection once or twice a week. If you respond to it you’ll probably feel better in 2–12 weeks. Read more >

What are the possible side-effects of etanercept?

The most common side-effects of etanercept are reactions at the injection site (usually redness and sometimes itching), a blocked or runny nose, nausea, mild fever, headaches, dizziness, a rash and stomach problems. It can also make you more likely to develop infections.

You should tell your doctor straight away if you develop any new symptoms, and you should stop taking the drug and see your doctor immediately if you have any symptoms of infection, if you haven’t had chickenpox and you come into contact with someone who has chickenpox or shingle, or if you develop chickenpox or shingles.

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What are the risks of taking etanercept?

Etanercept may make you more likely to pick up infections and it's recommended that you avoid live vaccines. You should only drink alcohol in small amounts if you're on both etanercept and methotrexate.

If you're female, you should use contraception while on etanercept as we don't yet know how it might affect an unborn baby. Breastfeeding isn't recommended while on etanercept.

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What else should I know about etanercept?

Before you start taking etanercept, your doctor and rheumatology nurse specialist will discuss other treatment options with you. You'll probably have screening for tuberculosis (TB) or hepatitis, as well as blood tests.

While taking etanercept, you should discuss any new medications (including complementary medicines) with your doctor before you start them. Always tell any other doctor treating you that you’re on etanercept and carry a biological therapy alert card. If you need an operation, speak to your doctor about whether you need to stop taking etanercept before the surgery.

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